Speaker Martin G. Romualdez on Wednesday commended Philippine Basketball Association award-winning American import Justin Donta Brownlee on his bid to become a Filipino and possibly play for Gilas Pilipinas in international competitions.
Romualdez expressed gratitude to his colleagues from the House committee on justice after approving House Bill (HB) 825, filed by 1-Pacman Party-list Rep. Mikee Romero through the motion of Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, Jr. granting Philippine citizenship to Brownlee.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas made a conscious effort of fast-tracking the naturalization of Brownlee, who has been religiously working out with Gilas Pilipinas national team prior to the start of the fifth window of our national team’s away games in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers won by the Philippines against Jordan and Saudi Arabia recently.
The SBP is hoping to get Brownlee, the beloved two-time Best Import playing for Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the PBA, on board Gilas before our national team’s two games in the sixth window in February, which will be hosted by the country at the Philippine Arena.
“Mabuhay ka, Justin Brownlee. Ngayon pa lamang ay karangalan na sa akin na tawagin kang ‘Kababayan’ dahil sa dakila mong hangarin na maglingkod dala ang bandilang Pilipino,” Romualdez said.
“Ngayong araw ay sinisimulan na natin dito sa Kongreso ang ‘Naturalization Process’ ng basketball player na si Justin Brownlee. Ito ay isang paraan ng paggagawad ng Filipino citizenship sa isang foreigner na nais kilalanin at makamit ang buong karapatan bilang isang Pilipino,” Romualdez said.
“Bilang isang sports fan at supporter ng mga #AtletangPinoy, tayo po ay nagagalak sa pagnanais ni Justin Brownlee na maging isang ganap na Pilipino, at makasama sa Gilas Pilipinas na lalaban sa Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian Qualifiers sa Pebrero,” Romualdez added.
Under HB 825, Brownlee “shall enter upon the full enjoyment of Philippine citizenship” after taking his oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines if Congress approves the measure.
Congress had passed several bills before granting Filipino citizenship to a number of foreigners.
Brownlee, who attended the hearing at the House of Representatives, thanked legislators as he gave them assurance he will help make the Philippine basketball team better.
“Maraming salamat po,” Brownlee, a two-time Best Import Awardee of the PBA as an import for Ginebra San Miguel, said.
“I have had a lot of love from the fans and the people here, and it would be great to be a part of the country, keep helping out as much as I can,” Brownlee added.